Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Farewell to Gary Esolen, Gambit's spiritual godfather

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 9:22 PM

  • Gary Esolen.

We at Gambit lost our founding father and longtime mentor Monday (Sept. 19) when Gary Esolen, the paper’s first editor and publisher, died at East Jefferson Hospital after a brief illness. He was 75.

In addition to his groundbreaking work at Gambit, Gary also was the co-founder and first executive director of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). In all his many civic and professional endeavors, Gary was a passionate advocate for the people and culture of his adopted hometown of New Orleans.

Born in Hancock, New York, Gary attended LeMoyne College, a small Jesuit liberal arts college — whose name, appropriately enough, matches that of the founder of New Orleans. At LeMoyne, Gary met several New Orleanians who influenced him, including future civil rights leader Rudy Lombard and future state Senator Hank Braden. Gary earned a Master’s degree at Syracuse and finished his coursework for a Ph.D. at Cornell. He was a Wordsworth Scholar.

Writing was always Gary’s first love, along with great conversation. He left academia to work as a writer and made a list of cities to which he might relocate — the top three being Santa Fe, Toronto and New Orleans. Gary’s wife Valeri LeBlanc summed up his choice: “New Orleans won as he felt he could find a place here and become part of it.”

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Gambit food writer Helen Freund wins national award

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 12:18 PM

Gambit food writer Helen Freund won top honors at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards in Austin, Texas July 9. Freund’s stories on blind culinary workers in New Orleans, as well as the restaurant scenes on Tulane Avenue and Kenner’s Williams Boulevard, won first places in the category of Food Writing among papers with a circulation of less than 45,000.

Freund is a veteran reporter who worked for the New York Post for four years as a general assignment and crime reporter. She covered crime for | The Times-Picayune before moving to Gambit in April 2015. Before moving to New York, Freund reported on dining and nightlife in Seattle. Freund also has worked as a professional chef and attained a culinary degree at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu.

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia is the umbrella organization for 114 alternative newspapers and websites across North America, each of which focuses on local news, culture and the arts.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gambit announces Jeanne Exnicios Foster as its new publisher

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Jeanne Exnicios Foster becomes Gambit's third publisher in its 35-year history. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Jeanne Exnicios Foster becomes Gambit's third publisher in its 35-year history.
As Gambit turns 35 years old, the paper is proud to announce a new publisher: Jeanne Exnicios Foster. Margo DuBos, who has been publisher for more than 28 years, will remain President and CEO of Gambit Communications Inc.

Foster, a New Orleans native, has worked at Gambit in various capacities for 15 years, most recently as Associate Publisher. She also is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

“I am honored by the opportunity to become Gambit’s next publisher and to follow in Margo DuBos’ footsteps,” Foster said. “Margo’s dedication to great journalism, to well-designed products and to New Orleans have been the hallmarks of her tenure as publisher. I look forward to following her example and leading with a similar passion for both media excellence and New Orleans’ future.”

Margo DuBos, who with her husband Clancy DuBos has owned Gambit since 1991, is a graduate of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and currently serves on the school’s Board of Visitors. She began working at Gambit in the advertising sales department in 1982. She was promoted to advertising director in 1985 and was named publisher in 1987. Under her leadership, Gambit has become one of the most successful alt-weeklies in America.

“In recent years, Gambit has bucked all national trends in the newspaper business by constantly adapting to the industry’s changing landscape in order to serve our readers better and help our advertisers reach their customers,” Margo DuBos said. “For more than a decade, Jeanne has been an integral part of our innovations and our success. She also has a keen understanding of what makes Gambit indispensible to our readers, so I’m proud to see her take the reins as only our third publisher in 35 years.”

Clancy DuBos, chairman of Gambit Communications Inc. and Gambit’s political editor, echoed his wife’s confidence in Foster. “Jeanne understands in a fundamental way what Gambit means to our readers, and her commitment to fulfilling our mission of providing New Orleans with an alternative voice makes her the perfect choice to succeed Margo as publisher.”

Gambit Editor Kevin Allman expressed similar sentiments. “I’m excited about Jeanne as publisher,” Allman said. “We’ve worked together for nearly eight years, and she’s got a great grasp of both traditional editorial excellence and what a modern media company needs to do online to reach readers. Many of the paper’s most creative and successful initiatives of the last few years have been Jeanne’s ideas.”

A message from Gambit’s new publisher

I discovered Gambit in 1997 as a teenager, when I worked as a hostess at Semolina on Magazine Street. Every Sunday afternoon, a stack of papers would drop on the counter and people would file into the restaurant to pick up a Gambit. A few months later I moved to New York for college and my early exposure to Gambit steered me to picking up The Village Voice to help navigate a new city.

Every major U.S. city has a paper like Gambit. Many of these papers are part of an organization called the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. These local news organizations all share a passion for the communities they serve.

Almost 20 years after discovering Gambit, I still enjoy watching people pick up the paper. Gambit remains important to any New Orleanian who wants to stay informed about live music, food news, events, arts, politics, news and community issues.

After 15 years of working at Gambit in various roles, I am proud to take the reins of New Orleans’ own weekly. We will continue to produce innovative digital, mobile and print products (we produce quite a few fun events too!) — and connect local businesses with our 296,000 loyal print and online readers. Gambit’s staff is passionate about and energized by the people, places and things that make New Orleans unique.

Thank you for your support, and stay tuned for what’s next as we continue to cover New Orleans like no one else! — Jeanne Exnicios Foster

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Listen: Gambit's 2015 Music Issue playlist

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 4:40 PM


Over the last five years, Gambit's annual Music Issue has interviewed and profiled New Orleans artists-to-watch and caught up with some familiar faces. In the 2015 edition, Gambit looks at nine up-and-coming New Orleans artists and previews a few anticipated fall releases. Read it all here:

Below is a playlist of the Class of 2015. Listen to more music on Gambit's Soundcloud.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A note to Gambit crossword fans

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 4:37 PM


Last week's paper was the first in many years without a crossword puzzle. Gambit’s longtime crossword constructor, Merl Reagle, died Aug. 22 of complications related to pancreatitis. Merl was 65 and a legend in the crossword world; his death was memorialized in The New York Times (twice!), The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other papers. And he had the ultimate honor of our age: a cameo appearance on The Simpsons.

In the weeks to come we will try out two crosswords that are popular in other alt-weekly newspapers. In Sunday's paper, you'll find both "Jonesin'," created by Matt Jones, and “The American Values Club Crossword,” edited by Ben Tausig. Both have the cultural references and wordplay that were so popular in Merl's puzzles — fewer clues about obscure rivers and dynasties, more clues about pop music and slang and lots of puns — some great and some so awful they're great.

Eventually we'll just run one puzzle, but we want to get reaction from the cruciverbalists among our readers (crossword solvers are a passionate bunch). Which one do you prefer?

Please let us know your thoughts. Email us with “crossword” in the subject line. Happy solving.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gambit crossword constructor Merl Reagle dead at 65

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Merl Reagle played an animated version of himself (left) in a 2008 episode of The Simpsons.
  • Merl Reagle played an animated version of himself (left) in a 2008 episode of The Simpsons.

Merl Reagle, one of the world's greatest crossword constructors and a weekly contributor to Gambit since 2008, has died at 65, according to reports in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

According to reports, he became ill on Thursday with pancreatitis and died this morning in a hospital in Tampa, Florida, where he lived. Reagle is survived by his wife, Marie Haley.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Listen: Uptown Messenger on NOPD task forces being diminished, consolidated

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 5:36 PM


This week in Gambit, Robert Morris of Uptown Messenger reported on how specialized New Orleans Police Department task forces designed to prevent crime before it occurs had been eroded by reassigning officers.

Today he spoke with WWNO-FM's Eve Troeh about the story and its implications. You can listen to the report here.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Gambit Food Revue set for March 11

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 4:08 PM


One price, dozens of tastes of the city: That was the idea behind the original Gambit Food Revue five years ago, and it was such a hit we've done it every year since.

The premise was simple: We asked dozens of the eateries we'd written about that year to come together for a food festival like no other — a mashup of white-tablecloth restaurants, bistros, bars and food trucks, all in one room for one (low) price.

Under the jump: this year's lineup of restaurants, and how you can get tickets.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Preview: Gambit's 2014 Food Revue on Wednesday, Feb. 19

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Gambit's 2014 Food Revue is Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at City Park's Pavilion of the Two Sisters. Repeat Gambit Food Revue guests will be glad to know that 26 of 35 restaurants participating are new to Food Revue.

UPADTE: Only VIP tickets remain.

The new Gambit Food Revue restaurants are listed below:
  • Dreamy Weenies
  • Sainte Marie
  • Ba Chi Canteen
  • Cafe Dauphine
  • Basin Seafood and Spirits
  • Lucky Rooster
  • Wayfare
  • Baru
  • The Sammich
  • Cibugnu 
  • Mr. Gyros
  • Ps & Qs
  • Dis Taco
  • Bear's Poboys
  • Lil Dizzy's
  • Reginelli's
  • Little Gem Saloon
  • Wakin' Bakin'
  • Ole Saint Kitchen & Tap
  • Porter & Luke's
  • Milkfish
  • Apolline
  • Drip n Sip
  • Kingfish
  • Shortall's BBQ (at 12 mile limit)
  • Mizado Cocina
  • Galatoire's 33 Bar & Steak

Repeat Food Revue favorites will also be in attendance:
  • Banana Blossom
  • Tivoli & Lee
  • SoBou
  • Liberty's Kitchen
  • Morning Call
  • Brazilian Market & Cafe
  • Kupcake Factory

Abita's Grapefruit Harvest IPA will be served, along with wine and other Abita beers. In VIP, there's a champagne bar.

General admission tickets are $45.
VIP tickets, which include early admission at 6 p.m., VIP tent access and a champagne bar, are $70.

For tickets, visit or call (504) 483-3152.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Gambit Comedy Night at Publiq House September 23

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM


So here's something fun — and free — to do on a Monday night: We're going to present an evening of free stand-up comedy that starts early and ends early.

It's at Publiq House on Freret Street, and there will be happy hour specials before the show begins at 7 p.m.

The night's being put together by New Orleans comedian Joe Cardosi, and the lineup includes Andrew Polk, Cassidy Henehan, Ariel Elias and J.D. Sledge. Another funny guy, Matt Rosenthal (@spacehugs on Twitter) will be live-tweeting the event with the hashtag #GambitComedyNight

Here's the event's Facebook page if you want to r.s.v.p. and follow — or, you know, you can just show up. No pressure. We've barely even announced it and we have dozens of confirmed attendees, so if this goes well, who knows? We might do it again. Let's see how this one goes.

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